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I checked the website Eater for its Heat Map, which includes new, tasty restaurants in the city. The stunning fact remained: it was quicker for my dad to find a wife than it is for me to decide where to eat dinner.

This kind of rigor goes into a lot of my decisionmaking.

The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission.

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If she were at a bar and smiled at him, Derek of 1993 would have melted.

He wouldn’t have walked up and said, “Oh, wait, you like the Red Sox?! ” before putting his hand in her face and turning away.

If he walked into a bar, you’d probably go, “Oh, there’s a white guy.” At our focus group on online dating in Manhattan, Derek got on Ok Cupid and let us watch as he went through his options.

These were women whom Ok Cupid had selected as potential matches for him based on his profile and the site’s algorithm.

I asked my dad about this experience, and here’s how he described it: he told his parents he was ready to get married, so his family arranged meetings with three neighboring families. That’s how my dad decided on the person with whom he was going to spend the rest of his life.

I am perpetually indecisive about even the most mundane things, and I couldn’t imagine navigating such a huge life decision so quickly. Happily so—and probably more so than most people I know who had nonarranged marriages.Throw in the fact that people now get married later in life than ever before, turning their early 20s into a relentless hunt for more romantic options than previous generations could have ever imagined, and you have a recipe for romance gone haywire.In the course of our research, I also discovered something surprising: the winding road from the classified section of yore to Tinder has taken an unexpected turn.Our phones and texts and apps might just be bringing us full circle, back to an old-fashioned version of courting that is closer to what my own parents experienced than you might guess.Where Bozos Are Studs Today, if you own a smartphone, you’re carrying a 24-7 singles bar in your pocket.As of this writing, 38% of Americans who describe themselves as “single and looking” have used an online-­dating site.

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